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Working all modes:
UHF, VHF, HF (20 meters), Packet (Airmail WL2K), Island Trunk VHF System,
Paktor HF (Marine Mobile VE0DTW), Echolink, PSK31(20m), Digitial RC
Now on APRS Click here to track me (VE7GDA)

Grid: CN88ER, IOTA: NA-036, EPC: 18779

Lat: 48.734N Long: 123.598W



Thomas Wagner AKA the Crabby Old Bugger has been a ham since 1958. That represents 54 years in Amateur Radio. Originally from VE6 land was first licensed in BC as VE7GDA. Now operating as VE7BH and VE0DTW (marine). Back in the 50's most equipment was Homebrew (home made for those non-hams). Two meters was a dream. We all tried to build a 2 meter rig, some were successful, some were not. I unfortunately was one of the unsuccessful ones.

And, the Yaesu collection is growing daily. All the way from my little VX-3 to a nice FRG-7700 all band receiver to a FRG-7 and an FT-101B. Not to mention the dinosaur (from a useful standpoint) the SP-901 phone patch. Does anyone still use a phone patch?

Hams are also known to be quit verbose. Official membership is held in the "Rag Chewers Club".

Back in early days we did not have a No Code category. You had to prove you could send at least 5 wpm. As well radio theory was needed. You had to be able to draw schematics for receivers, transmitters and some test devices. All from memory. Most of us were satisfied to use code for our activities as voice cost a lot more money. Single sideband was a dream for the poor.

Ham radio leads one to all sorts of activies and jobs. A lot of early hams were veterans from the war. During the war any Ham Radio activities were banned. But after the war, and for many years after surplus equipment became our main source of gear. Most of it was aircraft or marine. You never got a power supply, and if you did it was for 400 cycle current. Needless to say we became quite good at building power supplies. As well you were lucky if you could afford a tower and a beam. So you became quite good at long wire antennas. My first one was a 80 meter folded dipole, fed with ladder wire.

Ham radio equipment has really changed. As well computers have been adopted as part of our use. Photograph shows VE7GDA station at Cassidy BC. Note, lots of computers. Items in the station are, weather station (at top), monitors below (slow scan and CCTV), computer in middle. At right printer, VHS VCR, antenna switches, computer switches (3 computers not shown are connected), Yaesu HF rig with TNC below. VHF radio to right of HF. Somewhere in the mess is a shortwave radio, frequency meter and other "essential toys".


Of course you can never have enough antennas. It is hard to see but there is a Moseley 5 bander on the tower. A Cactus J Pole at the top and a wire sloper running down the front. Satellite dishes are essential aren't they? And why only have one. Smaller tower at the right has home entertainment antenna.

Now with age we simplify. Present station has been simplified. Lifestyle change necessitates that it take the least space possible. Present equipment is two HF rigs. The old venerable Yaesu is the standby rig. It drives a Homebrew micro match. Main HF is a Kenwood TS-50. MFJ Versa Tuner loads the transmitter. Antennas are literally up in the air. Space dictates that a vertical or some small beam be used. Mean time dipole wire for 20 meters is operational. I am working at getting my Huster working on 40 and 80 meters. Will probably go back to Pactor next. Two VHF rigs are used. Radio Shack HTX-242 is dedicated to Packet. Alinco DR-130 is general operation VHF. All the gear is powered by an Astron power supply with automatic changeover to battery. Packet computer is a dedicated "E"machine. FRG-7700 at right, FT-101 and FRG-7 at left. Nearby neighbors but not shown are two more computers printers and scanners, all networked. Handhelds are literally the United Nations, Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom, and not to mention Uniden and Standard marine. Small laptop connects for PSK31 at 14,071mhz... and not shown, have now added VHF Marine scanner for the summer when my turn comes to control the BC Boater's net. I guess I can finally throw out all those boxes under my desk. Nearly everything is out of warranty now.



Finally broke down and put a mobile in the car. Honk if you see me.. Thanks to Fred at FM Communications. I should never have looked at that little Icom. He is now closed, so I made it under the wire. Fred and Judy, enjoy your retirement.



A bit of history on the callsign VE7BH. I am proud to have the callsign of a real radio pioneer. For many years that call was held by Donald Lewes Hings. Up to his becoming a Silent Key at the age of 96 he is credited with the invention of the "Walkie Talkie", an invention we all use and owe a great deal of gratitude for. He held that sign till his death in 2004. I am proud to be keeping his radio presence alive in our hobby. A full story of his life can be found at his website (click here).

Over the years VE7BH with it's present owner has operated all bands. Due to a concussion the ability to use Morse Code has been lost. But a presence is maintained on HF/SSB, UHF, VHF, PSK31 and Packet.

I am now boatless so do not use Marine callsign any more but still download WEFAX charts from Pt. Reyes CA. and Hawaii


And for all you Star Trek fans, an implant compliments of the Borg.





Boat Anchors and other assorted Stuff:

We all have a bit of packrat in us. I think I have the charter rights in the club. Doesn't matter what comes along I can't turn it down. Here is a small gallery of some of the "stuff" I have accumulated.

Lightning bug key    



Click here for the real meaning of Ohms Law





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Updated July 5, 2013 ©